Once again my sister-in-law who was touring Glacier National Park last month offered to share her story with you.
We got to Glacier around noon as took much longer than anticipated on Going to the Sun Road because it was rainy and foggy the whole way. We stopped for a very nice lunch at McDonald Lodge, which is one of the few lodges within Glacier. Even though I had called months in advance to try to get into McDonald Lodge they were full. We continued on to our hotel which was just outside of the west entrance of Glacier and also handled by the same reservation company that made reservations within Glacier. The hotel “West Glacier Lodge and Resort” was really only a lower level motel. Absolutely no amenities — small room, no shampoo, kleenex, coffee maker, hair dryer, wi fi although they did have a flat screen TV in the
room. On the plus side, it was clean and the bed was comfortable and it had a heater in the bathroom which was invaluable because even though we wore our rainsuits, some of our clothes got wet from condensation and my backpack got soaking wet. There was also a very good diner there, which had great breakfasts, and fairly gourmet dinners and excellent pizza.
After we checked in we stopped at the ranger station in Glacier and got info about possible hikes for that afternoon and the next day. That afternoon wehiked to Avalanche Lake (2 miles one way), which turned out to be farther andmore challenging than we thought it would be. It took us 2 hours to go the 4 miles and it was raining pretty hard the whole time. The next day we headed to Logan Pass to hike the Hidden Lake Trail (1.5 miles one way). It finally cleared up while we were at Logan Pass and the animals were glad too. We saw mountain goats, big horn sheep and lots of ground squirrels. It was a pretty easy trail and well traveled.
We stopped at Rising Sun Lodge within the park for lunch, which was very good. We then headed to Saint Mary’s Falls to hike to both Saint Mary’s Falls and Virginia Falls (2.5 miles one way), pretty easy hike and lots of other hikers. The falls were really beautiful, especially after all the rain. At one of the falls there was a group of young guys jumping into the river off the rocks near the falls. We stayed 2 nights in Glacier — so really had 1 1/2 days, which seemed to be enough.
We were told there were only 2 lodges within the park, but we saw other lodges. So the 2, Lake McDonald and Many Glacier Hotel must be the only ones that are handled by the park service. We had lunch at Rising Sun Lodge which appeared to be in the park and looked very nice. There were other lodges also.
There is also a free shuttle service on the Going to the Sun Road, which we didn’t use and didn’t really have any trouble parking when we wanted to. It stops at different places and you can get off and hike and wait for the next shuttle. Additionally there is the Little Red Bus, which does tours along the Going to the Sun Road It is touted in all the tour books, but we didn’t do that either. I’m sure if you wanted to get an overview and lots of background information it would be a valuable tour to take.
The next day before breakfast we did the Fairview Overlook — again very steep, but not very far. We were carefully watching for bear and making noise as the trail was not well traveled. After breakfast we went to the gondola lift early hoping to beat the crowds. At the gondola along with your ride, you could purchase a full buffet breakfast for $2 or a full buffet lunch for $7. We purchased the lunch. We hoped to see bear from the gondola, but didn’t. At the top of the gondola there was a pretty nice interpretive center and other trails. We did a hike to Kicking Horse Lookout. Another fairly steep hike, but not very far. Also fairly busy trail. The other trails at the top were closed due to bear activity. This was our last full day at Lake Louise. We spent 3 nights there and felt it was enough.
- Glacier Driving Tour – (Glacier National Park) (rv-dreams-journal.com)